This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Saturday 30 June 2012

End of June Flower Show

I love bees in the garden! I find them difficult to photograph as right when I snap they seem to move on to the next flower. The bees seem to be enjoying most plants including chives (pictured left), lupin, aquilegia / columbine, poached egg plant etc. It's great to seem them buzzing about.

From mid June onwards we've had lots of rain and very windy weather. This seems to have 'bent' my lupin flowers and I've had to put in extra stakes to give plants like lupin, delphinium and the tall aquilegia support.

Here's a little summary of what's been in bloom this month...

Above: Lupin in late June (after a beating by rain and wind).
Below: Lupin in early June.
I've been removing the finished flowers in the hope of a 2nd show of flowers, which will be smaller.
Above and Below: more Lupin; these are younger plants more recently grown from seed and only put into the ground in early Spring this year.
The pink geranium in the background of the photos self seed and easily divide so I've ended up with a huge pink border in the garden (sometimes I think it's a bit too pink!). The pink geranium will soon be getting the 'Chelsea chop' - cut all the way down so they will flower again later Summer.

The delphinium have come into flower towards the end of June. 
Geranium, a great perennial plant, leaves have been nibbled by something.
Above and Below -Orange coloured Poppy 'Golden Tears' self seed in the garden;
I really enjoy them and wish I had more! They last all summer with deadheading.
Saxifraga Urbium (thanks Sue for plant name) - this plants seems to multiply well in dry-ish conditions.
Calendula self seed, however, I think these plants never died down over Winter.
Aquilegia / columbine - I've been deadheading; for some varieties like the one pictured I think it has helped prolong the flowering.
Nemophila 'Pennie Black', (Annual) seems to like where it's located.
Climbing Hydrangea with climbing rose planted behind it.

For June flowers not shown here view my June Blogger's Bloom Day post - click here.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Veg Troubles

This week has brought warm days, gray skies and heavy rain. My first developing courgette has been a bit of a flop (pictured left). I assume this is blossom rot. I've also noticed many of the flowers are shriveling up and falling off the plant (pictured below). This is very disappointing - can this be blamed on the weather? 

I did a search on the internet and it says blossom rot can be from a lack of calcium. I would have thought the compost I used would have all the nutrients the plant initially needs.
Courgette 'All Green Bush' not producing healthy courgettes so far.
Below: the plant looks healthy otherwise to me. 

Above: Potatoes in grow bags, starting to show flowers.
I have six bags of potatoes growing as well as potatoes in the ground. I've positioned the potato bags in pairs in three different locations in the garden. I've noticed one of the bags in each pair is fairly healthy whereas the 2nd bag is getting devoured by slugs.
I'm wondering do they eat one bag, before they move to the other!
Above: Slug munching through potato plant leaves.
Below: His smaller friend joins the party.
I have every size, shape and colour of slug and snail in the garden!
Above: The grow bags provide the perfect habitat and home for slugs. On the other hand, they're easy to find if I can remember to check! I must have removed about 50 today alone!
Below: This is the result of the slug party.
These parties have got to stop!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Veg Progress (Eggplant, Bean, Courgette, Tomato)

June seems to to have brought lots of rain and gray skies! Some plants put outside in early June (pumpkins, butternut squash and courgettes) have suffered. Some cucurbits I've delayed planting or have put into pots positioned closer to the house for protection from the windy conditions.

Left: Aubergine / eggplant are slowing growing. Sown indoor from seed sown 8 April 2012. I plan to grow these in the conservatory throughout Summer (along with tomatoes).

Above: Growing aubergine / eggplant I've discovered the plants are developing little prickly spikes!
My 2nd year growing tomatoes and I've grown two types:
Tomato (Red Cherry). Sown indoor 8 April 2012.
Tomato 'Gardener's Delight'. Sown indoor 8 April 2012. 
My dilemma with beans - when are they ready to eat? I picked some and ate them, ready or not.
Bean 'Dwarf Purple Queen'. Sown indoor 8 April 2012; planted outside early June.The other beans are either 'Cobra' or 'Scarlet Emperor' - I've lost track!
Above: Courgette 'All Green Bush', Sown 8 April 2012 indoor; planted outside in early June.
Canes have been placed around the plant to protect it from wind damage.
Above: Squash 'Patty Pan'. Sown indoor 8 April 2012; planted outside into a container 17 June 2012.
Is that blossom rot developing on the first squash??
Potatoes in grow bags seem to be doing well. These are either 'Maris Peer' or 'Pentland Javelin' - I forgot to look at the tag.  As usual the potatoes planted in the ground are suffering from slugs and snails.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Friday 15 June 2012

Blogger's Bloom Day

It's Blogger's Bloom day and I've had my first courgette flower! Hopefully this year my courgettes won't suffer from blossom rot. I've grown two varieties of courgette 'All Green Bush' and  yellow 'Soleil F1'. The plants I put into the ground have suffered from slug and insect attack. I'm hoping my pot grown veg will be good producers this year.

Here's a snapshot of what's in bloom...
Poached Egg Plant / Limnanthes Douglasii, (Hardy Annual) still going strong. 
Above and Below: Wild foxglove self seed in the garden.
Above: A chives border attract bees.
Below: Flowering roses (they don't seem to mind blackspot too much).
Above and Below: Snapdragon that have over wintered and going strong.
Above and Below: Aquilegia with lupin in the background.
Lupin bring a splash of colour in May./June.

Above and below - I can't remember what these two are called?

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by:

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Bendy Lupin Flowers

After our two weeks of really warm weather and sunshine we're back to grey skies and rain. The forecast for the rest of June isn't great but hopefully some sunny days will appear. The plants have been under a bit of stress from weather extremes and I think this has caused some of my plants, like turnips, to bolt. Watching Gardener's World on Sunday makes me feel better to know that Monty Don has had problems with his veg bolting. 

This year my lupin flowers have bent. I'm not sure if this is a result of weather conditions or something else. I recall reading an article about this recently but I can't remember the rationale (will have to dig through magazines to try to find the article). The flowers still look great but I'm curious why they have bent.

Variety: Lupin Russell Mix (perennial), grown from seed several years ago.

Little white lines drawn in above help show the bendy flower stems.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Aquilegia in Action

Columbine / Aquilegia are probably in their prime at the minute. It's a shame they only flower for a short period, generally May-June. I'm trying to prolong the flowering by deadheading.

VarietyAquilegia Long Spurred Hybrid (Perennial), Suttons 'Cottage Garden' Seed Collection. All the Columbine were sown Summer of 2010 and this is their 2nd year in flower. (I had to go and look this up as two years ago can seem just like last year!)
Even green fly can be a thing of beauty?
Well, I'm not too keen to see greenfly on my plants. I generally have greenfly on roses but this year they have taken a liking to the Aquilegia as well. They multiply fast too!

The bright pink Columbine is one of the most striking. Pictured with Poached Egg Plant /Limnanthes Douglasii in the background.
The lupin and columbine I didn't separate before planting into the ground. I'll have to do this in the Autumn.

The seed pack where it all started, and my review on the varieties:
Aquilegia - easy to grow, a range of size and colour within the mix (some more favoured than others).
Aster 'Aster Ostrich Plume Mix' - they were big and bold. See my attempt at growing these here.
Cornflower - I wasn't impressed as they were insignificant and short lived.
Hollyhock - I manged to grow one plant last year but I was proud of it!
Lupin - the prize definitely goes to Lupin for impact and easy to grow (just watch out for slugs)!
Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.